With both teams entering Friday night’s series opener sporting three-game winning streaks, there was plenty of momentum to go around between the Cardinals and Nationals. St. Louis hoped some of theirs would rub-off on pitcher Anthony Reyes, who entered the night with an 0-7 record.
Austin Kearns had other ideas.
Washington’s right fielder turned Jim Edmonds’ would-be two-run double into an inning-ending double play, allowing the Nats to escape the sixth inning without surrenduring a run and ensuring their 5-4 victory.
With one out and Albert Pujols at second and Scott Rolen on first, Edmonds laced an offering from Winston Abreau deep to right. Kearns ran full-speed before diving on the warning track to snare the ball. He got up and fired a stike to first baseman Dmitri Young to end the Cardinals’ threat.
"That totally saved the game," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "Kearns made a great play."
Cards skipper Tony La Russa agreed.
"That was a great play, a game-changing play," La Russa said. "He ran a long way for it."
Reyes (0-8) took the loss, allowing five runs in five and two-thirds innings. His last regular season win came last Sept. 3 against the Pirates.
"I don’t think about wins and losses," Reyes said. "If I did it would probably get to me, but I go out there and try to throw strikes and keep the team in the game."
Albert Pujols raised his batting average to .287 with a three-for-four night. His fourth-inning home run was his eighth this season.